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Jewish Royalty

by Mrs. R. Goldzweig

www.kabbalaonline.org

  

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The Midrash states, "G-d had three 'finds'...one of them was David, as it says,1 'I found David, my servant.'"2  - "[And] where did I find him? In Sodom!"3

Jewish Royalty

Malchut, literally "royalty", is the seventh sefirah, the culmination and distillation of the previous six sefirot. It is the female principle, the archetypal recipient sefirah, and the Zohar describes it as "having nothing of her own".

A Jewish king is the embodiment of the sefirah of malchut and therefore very different than the autocratic king of the nations of the world. In contrast to King Ahasuerus, for example (or Saddam Hussein, in our day and age), whose authority was not subject to any guidelines or legal standards, a Jewish king serves as a living example to the nation (and thus, to the world) of total commitment to the service of G-d, with total subservience and self-nullification to G-d's will.

Jewish royalty must have moral courage and strength and nobility of character. He must have the ability both to be judgmental as well as compassionate. King David, the father of the Jewish house of royalty, when engrossed in the study of Torah was described by the Sages as: "adino haetzni" - "delicate as a worm" ["adin" is Hebrew for delicate]. When he fought in battle, he was "tough as wood" ["etz" is Hebrew for wood]. The same David who was a psalmist also declared, "I will pursue my foes and not return until they are totally vanquished."4

The same David who was a psalmist also declared, "I will pursue my foes and not return until they are totally vanquished
David's Lineage

King David himself lived a life full of trials and tribulations literally from birth. He was shunned by his father as a bastard (see below), scorned and pursued by King Saul, and weathered his son Absalom's rebellion while King of Israel. Yet he never flinched or complained, instead writing 150 songs of praise to the Almighty (the Book of Psalms) and meriting the crown of royalty for all generations through the time of the Future Redemption.

Indeed, David lived almost his entire life on borrowed time, as the Midrash explains that Adam was originally destined to live for 1000 years, as decreed: "today you will die".5 When Adam saw all the souls that were destined to come down to the world, he saw that King David was destined to live for only 7 hours - so he gave him 70 years of his own; thus Adam lived therefore for 930 years, and King David lived for 70.

His lineage is shadowed and shameful: his father descended from Moab, a product of incest between Lot and his daughter after Sodom's destruction,6 down through Ruth, a Moabite convert.

Jacob's grandson Er (Judah's eldest son) died childless. After his brothers failed to father a namesake with Tamar (his widow),7 she resorted to consorting with Judah while in disguise. Upon being sentenced to death for her apparent lack of fidelity, she left her fate, as well as her unborn child's, completely in Judah's hands rather than shame him in public. Judah then publicly accepted responsibility for her pregnancy, saving her life as well as her unborn children (she was carrying twins). He merited Israel's house of royalty for all generations through this noble act, as David is descended from Peretz, one of the products of that union.

Years later, when the Jewish nation traversed the wilderness on the way to the Land of Israel, the Moabite nation refused them passage through their land and was thereafter prohibited to marry Jews. During Jesse's lifetime, the judges debated if this prohibition applied to Moabite women as well as to the men.

According to the Shelah, Jesse - the foremost righteous one of his generation and a member of Great Assembly - separated from his wife towards the end of his life due to this controversy, declaring himself unfit for a Jewess. His wife, however, did not accept this decree and, similar to Tamar, secretly disguised herself as his concubine one night.

The product of this union was David, who was believed to be a bastard by his father and brothers until the truth came to light 28 years later, when Samuel was sent by G-d to anoint David, son of Jesse, as king after King Saul failed to completely exterminate Amalek as commanded.

Footnotes

  • 1. Psalms 89:21.
  • 2. Bereishit Rabba 29:3.
  • 3. Bereishit Rabba 50:10.
  • 4. Moed Katan 16b.
  • 5. G-d's "day" is 1000 human-years, as we learn in Psalms 90:4.
  • 6. Lot's daughters mistakenly thought that the world had been destroyed again and had returned to its unpeopled state as in the time of Adam and Eve.
  • 7. According to Jewish law, a man must marry the widow of his childless brother in order to maintain the brother's blood-line. See Deut. Chap 25.

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